“Master, there is nothing unusual here.”
“Master! There is a box here.” One of the guards handed a wooden box to Du Jiu. After a long and careful scrutiny Du Jiu thought it was just an ordinary box, then he opened it.
Glorious gold bars were neatly filed in a thick row, various gems scattered in the corners and in the gaps between the bars, the scorching brightness made Du Jiu blinked a few times.
“Mast… Master, they really buried treasures here.” Du Jiu had never felt this absurd before. Jingting Mansion people were too idle?!
They had too much money and didn’t know how to spend, so they came to the deep forest to bury treasures for fun?
Rong Xia looked at the box of gold and gems, at that moment he was so lost that his jade-like face looked dumbfounded.
“Master, they didn’t lie. Maybe they were here by mistake…..” Du Jiu thought about it, “Probably Ban Shizi has failed to bury the treasures because you ran into them last time, so they changed the place.”
And unexpectedly ran into them again.
It was said that when the Grand Princess got married, her wedding procession was so grand 1Ten miles trousseau 红妆十里 = a very long (ten miles long) wedding procession because the dowry is abundant. that it attracted the attention of the whole city. With such a wealthy mother, it’s not unexpected that Marquis Jingting also lived an extravagant life, but being too idle that they could run to the forest to bury treasures, this family was really a family of losers.
He heard in the Southern wealthy businessmen liked to show off by throwing gold and silver leaves into water at high tide, many commoners had drowned trying to fish out the leaves. Compared to those merchants, Marquis Jingting could be considered observing karma, his activity was victimless.
But no matter how he thought, he still couldn’t understand the way of the nobility.
“Take it back,” Rong Xia put his hands behind his back, “Since they said it’s for the destined person, then I can also be considered the destined person.”
Du Jiu glanced at the Count’s expression, his expression turned complex when he was sure that Master wasn’t joking,
“Master, it seems some other places have also been dug.” The guard looked around, the stealth skill of the diggers was quite low, it’s very obvious which spots had been stirred.
“No need to look again,” Rong Xia took a gold bar out of the box, it was of very good quality, just one bar was enough to clothe and feed a commoner for ten years, “Clean it up, cover the dug up spots.”
Rong Xia put the gold bar back into the wooden box, then he took the box from Du Jiu. It did not look big but quite heavy.
Looking at the Count who was in a very good mood, Du Jiu felt it was a bit dishonest, but when he thought about it again, Ban family’s gold was waiting for the destined person anyway, and now that they were found by Master….. then Master was the destined person.
That’s right, no problem here, their family Master wasn’t shameless!
In Ban family’s villa, the three members of Ban family were sitting on a round table drinking tea in large gulps.
“I was really scared to death just now,” Ban Heng clutched his tea cup looking woeful, “Sister, you used my name to lie again.”
“Sorry.” She felt quite guilty for using her brother as the scapegoat every time. She put her palms together and looked at him apologetically, “I was very nervous and it was all I could think of. Please don’t be angry with me, will you?”
“It’s fine, forget it, I am known as a wastrel anyway, a bit more is nothing.” Ban Heng was most afraid of his sister looking at him so pitifully like this, she just needed to give him one eyeful and he would lose his stand.
“Brother Heng, thank you.” Ban Hua poured tea for Ban Heng, “I am worried about one thing. Count Cheng’an knows this, will he dig it up to take home?”
“It’s not possible.” Ban Heng waved his hand, “Master Rong isn’t that kind of person.”
“Right.” Ban Huai also nodded after him, “Master Rong is an honourable gentleman, he wouldn’t do that.”
Ban Hua touched her nose, it seemed she had judged a gentleman by a lowly person standard. Someone like Master Rong didn’t lack money to spend, he wouldn’t covet the little things they buried.
“It’s late, go to sleep, tomorrow I’ll take you home.” Ban Huai pulled the back of his clothes, his inner clothing were soaked with cold sweat and it’s sticking uncomfortably on his back.
Early morning the next day, thick fog enveloped the whole place. Ban Hua fastened her cloak, turned her body and sat on the horse, she said to her brother and father, “It’s foggy today, don’t ride too fast so the horses won’t get scared.”
Ban Huai and Ban Heng nodded, on the matter of riding horses, father and son both listened to Ban Hua.
The three of them and their guards started their ride on the official road. Not long after there was a sound of horses’ hooves from behind. Ban Huai was afraid those were ruffians taking advantage of the thick fog, he ordered a guard to check their behind.
The guard returned soon with a man on a horse. The three Ban’s recognised him as Count Cheng’an’s guard Du Jiu who had insisted on sending them back last night.
“Guardsman Du,” Ban Hua glanced at a distance not far behind Du Jiu, “What a coincidence.”
“Meeting Marquis, Junzhu, Shizi,” Du Jiu jumped down from the horse and bowed towards them.
“No need to be too formal outside,” Ban Hua were all smiles at Du Jiu, “Are you also returning to the City?”
“Replying to Junzhu, we are escorting the Count back to the City.” He wasn’t a lecher, but he couldn’t help being stunned by the smiling young woman. Such a coarse man he was, he thought the lucky man who could marry such a lovable woman should be willing to serve her primping herself in front of the mirror everyday. It’s beyond his grasp why this beautiful woman could have her engagements withdrawn.
“So Master Rong is also here.” Ban Hua raised her head at the group of people coming out of the thick fog, the one at the front in a light crescent-coloured brocade robe was Rong Xia.
Their four eyes met, Ban Hua gave him a dazzling smile.
Rong Xia was going to dismount to bow to Ban Huai, but Ban Huai stopped him. Rong Xia noticed the order by which the three Ban’s rode their horses was odd, the daughter Ban Hua was at the front while Ban Huai and Ban Heng were behind, it’s somewhat out of norms.
But he wasn’t one who liked to meddle with others’ affairs. After exchanging some polite nothings with Ban Huai, he said, “Last night my guards had disturbed your noble pursuit, I apologise to you all on their behalf.”
“Ahem,” Ban Hua cough drily. It’s already quite embarrassing to bring it up, what was he apologising for.
“Master Rong, it’s nothing like a noble pursuit,” Ban Hua slowed her horse, “We were just idle and looked for something fun to do, you’ll find it ridiculous.”
“Buddhism is particular about karma. The good action that you planted today may bear fruits by helping other people tomorrow, so it is certainly a noble pursuit.” Rong Xia cupped his fist in respect to Ban Hua, “Good actions bear good fruits, good intention has good rewards. Those who receive the treasures will definitely be grateful to you.”
Ban Hua gaped but was unable to speak a rebuttal. The mouth of a scholar was so powerful, something so absurd could be spoken like it was anything philosophical, even she herself almost believed it, such was the power of learning!
She twisted to shoot a glance at Ban Heng. Looking at him, looking at herself, should they be ashamed or not?
Ban Heng turned away, he was staging a non-violent but stubborn defiance. His face was like ‘didn’t understand, didn’t see’.
“Junzhu,” Rong Xia steered his horse to a half-horse distance from Ban Hua, “I heard you like white fox fur?”
Ban Hua turned to Rong Xia, good looking people were always pleasing to the eyes, “En.”
“I have a few pieces of good fox fur. If Junzhu doesn’t mind, I’ll let the servants bring some over.” Rong Xia smiled, “Fox fur for the beauty, such a peerless match.”
The morning breeze rose, white mist moistened Ban Hua’s eyelashes, she blinked, “I do like it, but I can’t take something for nothing, how can I accept it from Master.”
“Just take it as my gratitude for the plate of pastries two days ago,” Rong Xia still maintained the half-horse distance from Ban Hua, “The pastries from your residence is very delicious, the cooks in my residence couldn’t make such tasty thing.”
“So you would like to exchange the recipe of those pastries with fox fur?” Ban Hua suddenly understood, she generously said, “Don’t worry, when I am back, I’ll let someone bring you the recipe.”
The smile on Rong Xia’s face turned slightly stiffened, “Then thank you very much, Junzhu.”
Ban Heng rode his horse up next to Ban Huai, giving him a wink. This Master Rong, was he interested at his sister?
Ban Huai shook his head, it was unlikely.
Hua Hua was his precious daughter, but one needed to have self-awareness, his precious daughter and the gentleman Master Rong were absolutely not suitable.
“Junzhu’s archery skill is very impressive. Had you been a man, you would have been a remarkable general.”
“That may not be possible.” Ban Hua shook her head very straightforwardly.
“Why is that?” Rong Xia didn’t see any slightest modesty on Ban Hua’s face.
“Living in military camps is hard. If I were a man, I would have been the Marquis Shizi. I would be surrounded by pretty maids and lived in comfort. With such an enjoyable life, why should I deny myself and go to military camps to suffer?”
Ban Hua cupped her face with one hand, her tender cheeks looked very cute, “All the generals who are willing to go to battlefields are remarkable, but I don’t want to be them.”
Rong Xia was silent for a moment, looking at the silly and spoiled woman in front of him, he laughed, “Junzhu is very frank.”
“Life is only a few short years, so just do whatever is joyful.” Ban Hua laughed, “Who knows which day that your eyes won’t open anymore.”
Rong Xia was still laughing, “Junzhu has clear view.”
Unfortunately all beings were suffering2众生皆苦, 唯有自渡 = All beings are suffering, they can only rely on themselves. Apparently (in Chinese Buddhism) it gives birth to the idea that life’s greatest blessing is inner joy and happiness., how many people could see it clearly, how many people could be so carefree?
The sun finally broke through the fog and sunlight fell on the earth. Although it didn’t make it much warmer, but enough to steadily disperse the thick fog.
Ban Hua grasped her whip and pointed to the front, “The city gate is there.”
At that moment, a luxurious carriage was heading out. Ban Hua recognised the emblem as Shi family crest. Thinking of Shi Feixian’s secret admiration towards Rong Xia, Ban Hua couldn’t help but looking at him.
But Rong Xia smiled at her and turned to look into the distance as if he hadn’t seen the carriage at the city gate.
- 1Ten miles trousseau 红妆十里 = a very long (ten miles long) wedding procession because the dowry is abundant.
- 2众生皆苦, 唯有自渡 = All beings are suffering, they can only rely on themselves. Apparently (in Chinese Buddhism) it gives birth to the idea that life’s greatest blessing is inner joy and happiness.